Laura Croft first made her way to the big screen in 2001, with Angelina Jolie as the ultra-popular video game character. “Tomb Raider” spawned a sequel and much like most films adapted from video games, they have pretty much become forgotten. Thanks to Hollywood’s quest to make as few original films as possible, we now have a “Tomb Raider” reboot, this time starring Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander.
I honestly can’t wrap my head around why studios continue to make films based on video games when most of them turn out to be unwatchable. Remember 2016’s “Assassin’s Creed”? Sure the “Resident Evil” franchise was a money-maker but even those films were awful. Admittedly, I think this latest incarnation of “Tomb Raider” is not only the best film adaptation of the property, but probably the best video game turned movie to date. That doesn’t mean it’s very good, it just means that it’s a much more competent film.
Norwegian filmmaker, Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”) does the best he can with the weak screenplay by newcomers Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. The writing here is uninspired, more-so when characters are having one-on-one conversations. Thankfully, Uthaug knows how to keep the action moving and he scored big-time with Viander in the title role. She is a much more believable Laura Croft than Jolie ever was. Even with some of the absurd situations that Croft finds herself in (the parachute scene stands out to me), Vikander allows the character to seem human. The biggest disappointment to me is the film’s villain, Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins). The “Justified” actor does his absolute best with the character but the way he was written doesn’t take advantage of what the actor can deliver. When you cast Goggins as a villain, let him have some fun with it.
“Tomb Raider” is an entertaining action-adventure film, that gives us another strong female-hero at a time where we need more of them. In the film’s final-moments it is made quite clear that the studio wants this to be a franchise-starter, leaving things open for Croft’s next adventure. I will totally be for it, but hoping the cast gets better material to work with moving forward.
By: Marc Ferman